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Media Release
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers
for the Environment, Sport, Territories
and Local Government

New Satellite Fills Weather WA Forecasting Gap

13th August 1997

"Australian meteorologists have started to receive the first images from China's first geostationary metrological satellite," Senator Ian Macdonald, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Bureau of Meteorology announced today.

The Fengyun 2 (FY-2) launched on 10th June 1997, will provide valuable meteorological date for weather forecasting and climate prediction over Australia.

Senator Macdonald said that 'FY2 is an important addition to the World Meteorological Organisation's (WMO) World Weather Watch and Global Climate Observing Systems'.

"Its images will also be of particular value to weather and climate services in Western Australia because it closes the gap in global geostationary satellite coverage that has long existed over the Indian Ocean and western Asia," Senator Macdonald said.

"The satellite is orbiting above the Equator at longitude 105E over the Indian Ocean. It is similar in design and function to Japan's series of Geostationary Meteorological Satellites (GMS) which have been used to monitor the weather over the Australian region since 1977."

"The Australian Bureau of Meteorology helps maintain FY2 in orbit through its Turn Around Ranging Station (TARS) at Crib Point near Melbourne, operated under its international agreement with China Meteorological Administration. Australia has free access to FY2 data and both countries collaborate on its use."

Senator Macdonald said that the FY-2 project is an excellent example of international collaboration and congratulated the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for its role in fostering such cooperation.

A party of senior Chinese meteorologists will be in Australia from 13 to 16 August, to attend the Australia China Joint Working Group for Cooperation in Meteorology.

A limited number of satellite images are available from Senator Macdonald's Office or from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Further information please contact:

* Mark Elliot (Office of Senator Ian Macdonald) 062 277 3665 or 0419 238 747
* Dr John Zillman (Director of Meteorology) 03 9669 4558
* Bruce Neal (Superintendent Satellite Activities) 03 9669 4032 or 03 9870 0945 (AH)

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